21 Tips for Raising Kids with ADHD When You Have ADHD Too
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) tends to run in families, so it’s common for both parent and child to struggle with the disorder. Naturally, this can create unique challenges when it comes to parenting.
“Having ADD and parenting a child with ADD has been one of the most difficult challenges in my life,” said Terry Matlen, ACSW, a psychotherapist and coach who specializes in ADHD and is founder and director of ADDConsults.com. Matlen’s daughter has ADHD and other special needs. She frequently hears from parents with ADHD who also worry about their ability to parent.
Sometimes, parenting can feel like “the blind leading the blind,” Matlen said. For instance, it might seem next to impossible to teach your child the very skills you struggle with. “If I have trouble organizing my space, how do I teach my child organizational skills? If I’m always dashing at the last minute, how do I teach my child better time management skills?” Matlen said.
But there are many strategies that can help. Here are 21 parenting tips that help you minimize stress, parent effectively and maintain a good relationship with your child.
1. Identify your challenges, and find solutions that work for you.
Pinpoint the problems your child is having and determine how you can help. For instance, homework has been a challenge for Matlen’s daughter. After a full day at school, she just didn’t have the mental energy to complete more assignments at home. Combine that with Matlen’s own exhaustion after her long days, and homework became a battle that started to chip away at their relationship.
To solve the problem, Matlen hired someone to help her daughter with homework several times a week. But as she got older, this, too, proved ineffective, so Matlen went back to the drawing board. “Because [my daughter] has ADD and a variety of special needs, I put in her IEP that her homework was to be done during school hours — when she was well medicated and had the structure she needed in order to sit still and focus. That may not work for all kids, but it was a miracle solution for us.”
2. Get creative.